Is Your Metabolism Weighing You Down?
I overheard some ladies chatting at Starbucks about their weight and diet. You know the usual stuff we girls complain about. But then I heard one person sigh and blame their extra weight on having a slow metabolism, a curse they have to bear. I often hear people throw out the term “slow metabolism” as an excuse for being overweight. While a slow metabolism can cause extra pounds it’s not usually something that’s an irreversible disease.
Your metabolism is how the body converts food to energy.
The efficiency of your metabolism depends a lot on your physical activity and diet. When you eat, your metabolism works to convert that fuel into energy, as your body needs it. If you are active you will burn up that energy and need more fuel. If you take in too much fuel and then sit on the couch your metabolism will slow down and store it as fat until you need it. We Americans are increasing our leisure time and sitting too much in front of the television or computer.
There is a condition called Metabolic Syndrome that can result in heart disease, diabetes or stroke. If you have three of the following risk factors you can be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome.
-A large waistline or excess fat in stomach
-High triglyceride levels
-Low HDL cholesterol levels (not enough good cholesterol)
-High blood pressure
-High fasting blood sugar (pre-diabetic)
If you are diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome it is not a death sentence and you can most likely reverse it with diet and exercise. The simple equation of eating less and exercising more could be the answer.
It is easier said than done with most of our food being highly processed and there being less time for physical activity. But it’s a matter of making a decision to do something about it. If you’re not already exercising or moving daily you have nowhere to go but up. Just do it! As I’ve written in previous blogs there is research proving that doing something is better than nothing. Even if you don’t have time to take an hour-long bike ride you can do little things to get yourself burning calories. For example, you can park further away from your destination and take stairs instead of an elevator. I have my family trained that unless there are extreme circumstances we will not use the car to go anywhere within our neighborhood. I’ve come to love a brisk walk in the winter air!
If you’re already active and still feel like your metabolism is slowing down your weight loss here are some tips to help rev it up:
–Intervals! Accelerating your pace when walking, biking, running or dancing for short bursts will increase your calorie burn.
-Lift weights! This will build more muscle and muscles need more energy thus increasing your metabolism.
-Drink water! The body needs water to burn calories. Dehydration slows the metabolism down.
-Watch your diet! Some studies have shown coffee and green teas to help boost metabolism. Also processing fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats will burn more calories while digesting.
If your body is not burning calories as efficiently as you think it could be, talk to your doctor about your diet and lifestyle. Some simple tests might reveal a real problem or it might be as simple as making yourself do the right thing.
What is metabolism: http://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-is-Metabolism.aspx
Metabolic Syndrome: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/